Delicious fish today. Mussels for lunch and mackerel for dinner. Both were prepared simply; the mussels à la marinière with shallots and white wine, the mackerel gutted, snotched and baked on a bed of fennel. Snotching was a new term for LT and I’ve had difficulty finding it myself, except in recipes by Lindsey Bareham. It’s a Cornish term for slashing the sides of fish – think of the torpedo shape of a mackerel or herring: slashing the sides a couple of times means that they cook evenly in the wider middle as well as the thinner tail end. Anyway, LT suggests that it was a word made up by a Cornish fisherman as a joke, and he may be right. But Lindsey’s book is not where I first heard it, and maybe I should ask friends in Cornwall … or maybe I’d then be disillusioned so had better not.
I wrote the minutes of the meeting I attended as Secretary last week, at last – I’ve been saying ever since that I *must* do it while I remembered what my notes meant. But it’s done and sent off by email.
I know how much I owe in tax but haven’t received confirmation by HMRC so haven’t paid it yet – but if tomorrow’s post doesn’t bring the demand, I’ll pay it online anyway and assume it’s accepted as correct. I have my tax reference and their account number. It’s enough to make me wince – the self employed have to pay in advance, an estimated amount for the next year, in January and then the balance of what they owe in equal halves in January and July. It sounds as if this should only hurt the first time and then balance out, but that isn’t the case.
When Weeza and co were here on Saturday, they said they were planning a holiday in the May half term. I said, don’t leave booking too long as places fill up. Within five minutes, Weeza had fished her phone and debit card out and JFDI. Very impressive and LT and I should do that too. We’re intending to go to a number of places and visit lots of friends this year, but haven’t got round to planning an away-from-it-all holiday and I hope we can get our act together and do it – once LT has got his new passport, that is. It has several months to run, but a lot of countries want ages – puzzles me, actually. If you’re booked for a couple of weeks package holiday and will leave with a couple of months still to run on the passport, I don’t see the problem. But evidently there is one, so we renew early. At least we can do it online now and it seems easier to deal with the photo – they will crop it to size as long as it fulfils the requirements.
It’s become milder, though of course things could change back at any time, and we are thinking forward to sowing seeds for the kitchen garden. i resist the impulse to start early in the greenhouse nowadays though, I’ve had to nurse too many young plants through cold spells when they’d started off in warmth, and I don’t get going until the beginning of March. It all pretty well catches up anyway – in hothouse conditions you can steal a march, but an unheated greenhouse with an electric propagator is asking for trouble, I’ve found.